Home » Costa Rica » A Guide To Office Culture In Costa Rica

A Guide To Office Culture In Costa Rica

You will often hear the term “pura vida” in connection with Costa Rica. It means pure life and is used by the locals as a form of greeting, to express gratitude and even to refer to a person who is friendly. It is reflective of the relaxed Costa Rican lifestyle and is an ideal description of how the locals experience life – as something to be enjoyed and cherished.

Expats are not likely to face much of a culture shock in the business and office environment in Costa Rica, as most places follow western standards. However expats should be aware of some unique cultural mannerisms.Appearance
Costa Ricans tend to dress formally and pay great attention to their appearance. It is important to show up well-groomed for work meetings, as this can build credibility. Ideal business attire would be a suit and tie. If you’re going to be living in any of the warmer coastal areas, you can skip the jacket. Women wear dresses, or skirts and blouses, although pants are also commonly worn.

Punctuality
The flexible approach to time-keeping among Costa Ricans is usually limited to social gatherings, where even half-hour delays are common. However, punctuality is emphasized in business events. Lunch meetings tend to be short and siestas are not common. It is a good idea to make advance appointments and re-confirm them by telephone before you arrive for meetings.

Greetings
Female business associates that are well acquainted with each other greet by way of a kiss on the cheek. This is also practiced between males and females. Male associates shake hands and may also pat the shoulder or arm with the other hand. Eye contact is important when greeting. Hugging is reserved for family and close friends.

Use the appropriate titles and surnames when addressing people. The formal way of addressing is Don and Doña, which translate to Mr. and Mrs. respectively.

Business proceedings
It is common practice to ask about one’s family and health before getting to the point of a business meeting. This is done even in daily interactions and some good topics to make small talk about are family, children and the beauty of Costa Rica. There is a sense of pride also about the country’s peaceful history. Avoid any comment that may seem critical of Costa Rica. Although politics is a frequently discussed subject, it can provoke strong opinions, so it’s best to avoid it if you can.


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Negotiations in business are influenced by connections. You will notice that it is quite easy to get things done based on who you are connected to. Business negotiations may take longer in Costa Rica and a direct approach is not always followed. Avoid showing signs of impatience since it may be perceived as weakness and can impact your credibility. It is also important to note that because Costa Rica is a small country, reputations are formed very quickly. It is necessary to have good relations with almost everyone you encounter in the business world, since almost everyone is connected to each other.

Personal space
North Americans and Europeans may take a while to adjust to the concept of personal space in Costa Rica. Touching is common among acquaintances. It is considered perfectly normal and there is no reason to be concerned. Even strangers are likely to keep very little distance between each other in many situations.

Women in the workplace
Latin society, including Costa Rican society, has always had “machismo” as a part of the culture, where men and women are still perceived in their traditional roles. Men are seen as breadwinners, even if they are actually not; women, on the other hand, are seen as primarily in charge of domestic duties. But the last few generations have witnessed a shift of these traditional roles and Costa Rican women have proved themselves to be hard workers, and oftentimes more ethical than men in their business dealings. Women in Costa Rica are no longer restricted to their homes, although many also head their own households at the same time. Expats can expect to see women in leadership and decision-making roles in many organizations, including financial institutions.


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In this short video, we dive into the significant health care updates and changes happening globally in 2024. From Germany's insurance cost adjustments to Cyprus's renewed COVID-19 precautions, we cover the essential news you need to know.  Germany's Health Insurance Update:  Starting in 2024, residents in Germany will see a slight increase in their health insurance costs, with a 0.1% rise to a maximum of 1.7%. This adjustment aims to expand coverage for medical care not currently included in statutory health insurance, such as select dental treatments, IVF, and early cancer screenings.  COVID-19 Measures Reintroduced in Cyprus:  With over 3000 new COVID-19 cases, Cyprus is stepping up its game by reintroducing health measures. Requirements now include proof of a negative COVID-19 test for entry into various facilities, emphasizing the importance of vaccination, especially for the elderly, to combat the evolving virus strains.  Free Health Trials in Trieste, Italy:  Trieste launches an initiative for free health screenings, including echocardiograms and blood tests, focusing on preventive care against non-communicable diseases. This move underscores the city's commitment to improving public health through early detection and prevention.  Spain's New Health Advice App:  Madrid introduces a groundbreaking app offering reliable health advice to counteract the widespread misinformation online. This app, part of the 'Madrid Te Cuida' initiative, will guide users to accurate information, from diet tips to medical queries, ensuring the advice is vetted by health professionals.  Expat Satisfaction with Healthcare in Mexico:  A study reveals that expat retirees in Mexico are largely content with the healthcare quality and costs, with many citing significant savings compared to the United States without compromising on care quality. This insight sheds light on the growing trend of healthcare tourism and relocation for medical reasons.  Stay tuned as we unpack these updates, providing you with the insights and implications of these healthcare changes. Whether it's the impact on your wallet or the quality of care you can expect, we've got you covered in this comprehensive overview of health care in 2024. Don't forget to like, share, and subscribe for more health news around the globe!

In this short video, we dive into the significant health care updates and changes happening globally in 2024. From Germany's insurance cost adjustments to Cyprus's renewed COVID-19 precautions, we cover the essential news you need to know.

Germany's Health Insurance Update:

Starting in 2024, residents in Germany will see a slight increase in their health insurance costs, with a 0.1% rise to a maximum of 1.7%. This adjustment aims to expand coverage for medical care not currently included in statutory health insurance, such as select dental treatments, IVF, and early cancer screenings.

COVID-19 Measures Reintroduced in Cyprus:

With over 3000 new COVID-19 cases, Cyprus is stepping up its game by reintroducing health measures. Requirements now include proof of a negative COVID-19 test for entry into various facilities, emphasizing the importance of vaccination, especially for the elderly, to combat the evolving virus strains.

Free Health Trials in Trieste, Italy:

Trieste launches an initiative for free health screenings, including echocardiograms and blood tests, focusing on preventive care against non-communicable diseases. This move underscores the city's commitment to improving public health through early detection and prevention.

Spain's New Health Advice App:

Madrid introduces a groundbreaking app offering reliable health advice to counteract the widespread misinformation online. This app, part of the 'Madrid Te Cuida' initiative, will guide users to accurate information, from diet tips to medical queries, ensuring the advice is vetted by health professionals.

Expat Satisfaction with Healthcare in Mexico:

A study reveals that expat retirees in Mexico are largely content with the healthcare quality and costs, with many citing significant savings compared to the United States without compromising on care quality. This insight sheds light on the growing trend of healthcare tourism and relocation for medical reasons.

Stay tuned as we unpack these updates, providing you with the insights and implications of these healthcare changes. Whether it's the impact on your wallet or the quality of care you can expect, we've got you covered in this comprehensive overview of health care in 2024. Don't forget to like, share, and subscribe for more health news around the globe!

YouTube Video UCB21b-C4O2aXm7H18_GsXMQ_nC_Fs6gU22U

Expat Focus International Healthcare Update January 2024

Expat Focus 31 January 2024 10:36 am

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